Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tasveer Fund Raiser - Seattle South Asian Film Festival

Life, Art, Movie Review: Saturday night we went to a lovely fundraiser for Tasveer. Ameen and I both hung artwork at the event to help raise funds for the upcoming South Asian Film Festival Tasveer is hosting here in Seattle. It was a fantastic event, and Tasveer is a very sweet and dedicated group.

They showed The Little Terrorist, a short film by Ashvin Kumar. This was such a beautiful film about a little boy who wanders across the India/Pakistan border while chasing his cricket ball. Another film was also shown, which was equally , if not more amazing than Kumar's film. Unfortunately I can't remember the title. But it was shot in Mumbai, and basically follows this chain of events; some events are negative, and spawn a negative chain across multiple characters, others are positive, and spawn a moving chain of positive events. And there was some intersection of the events. The film also had great high tempo music, bouncing camera freneticness (if that's a word), and interestingly -- I'm told the whole film was put together from two long shots. After writing this, a bit more is coming to me, I think the title is something about a red cherry blossom.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Ameen Dhillon at Gallery 6311 Tomorrow

Art: For those who missed Ameen's opening reception, she will be at Gallery 6311 tomorrow, Saturday August 26th, from 11AM to 5PM to answer any questions regarding her work. If you want to read a bit about how wonderful the opening was, you can go HERE.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Photos of Artwork from 2005 and 2006

Art: I finally got around to updating photos of my art for the past 8 months or so. You'll notice each time you come to the website the thumbnails in the header have a lot more variety. I've also prepared some slideshows for all my work; you can see them by clicking HERE for 2005 and HERE for 2006. Much of the work for 2005 was created while we were in India in November and December of last year. If you are interested, and haven't done so already, you can read more about this trip HERE.

Monday, August 21, 2006

TrackMeNot - I Think Not

Search, Tech: Perhaps these guys who created TrackMeNot were at SIG IR and heard the presentation by Daniel Frankowski I mentioned HERE. Frankowski showed that its not that hard to link public anonymized users with a private users-not-anonymized data set. Basically, things boil down to our novel searches are far more revealing than our non-novel (ordinary) searches; in other words, the sheep are difficult to identify, but the "independent types" are not. In addition, Frankowski explored whether burying novel actions inside of ordinary actions would decrease the possibility of identification. Apparently it does, but not as much as one would hope, and nonetheless, identification is still very possible. TrackMeNot tries anyway, by periodically issuing random queries to the big search engines from a Firefox browser. Cute idea, helps a bit, but not really going to solve this problem for society at large. As security experts like to say: obfuscation is not a security strategy.

Friday, August 18, 2006

AOL data entertainment

Search, Misc: AOL released about 3 months of anonymized user traffic last week. They quickly retracted the data after facing a massive backlash, including, but not limited to significant hacker attacks. The data is still out there, and searchable at: http://www.aolsearchdatabase.com/ . The data is fascinating from a sociological/psychological standpoint. A fun little game is to search for some keywords of interest, then click on a user id for any interesting results; you are presented with a list of all queries that user performed over the 3 month time horizon. If you find any interesting user ids, send them our way.

This seems to be a popular past time on the web. Slate is running an article titled
The records of AOL customer No. 16006693 - user 16006693. Here is the user trail:

16006693 nak
16006693 nack
16006693 sharona
16006693 knack
16006693 knack downloads
16006693 oakrige boys
16006693 oakridge boys
16006693 oakridge boys downloads free
16006693 jokes about dick cheney
16006693 jokes about dick cheney but not george bush
16006693 dick cheney creep
16006693 dick cheney dickhead
16006693 rummy dickhead
16006693 where is iraq
16006693 where is lebenon
16006693 his bullets
16006693 his bullies
16006693 shiits
16006693 shee-ites
16006693 bush appruval
16006693 bush approvel
16006693 bush drops below
16006693 dead reporters
16006693 dead reporters fotos
16006693 dead reporters pix
16006693 disembowled reporters pix
16006693 disembowled new york times
16006693 love thine enemas
16006693 love thine enemies
16006693 bible quote of the day
16006693 insperation from bible
16006693 george bush great president
16006693 george w bush great president
16006693 dream on
16006693 oakridge boys lyrics dream on
16006693 how to run country
16006693 how to run country when not really inerested
16006693 people to run country for you
16006693 over work
16006693 overwork
16006693 stress
16006693 best place to retire
16006693 places like crawford but without cindy sheehan
16006693 crawford the town not cindy crawford
16006693 crawford tx
16006693 like crawford tx but not so hot
16006693 best places to retire not hot
16006693 best places to retire global warming
16006693 global warming mith
16006693 global warming myth
16006693 crawford hot
16006693 cindy crawford hot
16006693 rice hot
16006693 rice hot not recipes
16006693 rice naked
16006693 rice nude
16006693 bible quotes resisting temptation
16006693 oakridge boys i'll be true to you
16006693 oakridge boys trying to love two women
16006693 rice and beans
16006693 tex mex
16006693 tex mex not music
16006693 tex mex takeout
16006693 tex mex takeout dc
16006693 heart burn
16006693 heartburn

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Lemonade for 50 Cents

Life: The other day Nayan set up a lemonade stand in front of the house. We all had a blast learning the basic tenets of capitalism. At the end of the day, courtesy of all our lovely neighbors that played along so well, Nayan earned 7.80$, just enough to buy himself a power rangers action figure.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Ameen Dhillon - Opening at Gallery 6311

Art, Life: Last night we had a blast at Ameen's opening at Gallery 6311 in Ballard. There was a large steady stream of people throughout the show. Lots of folks milling about and asking all types of art and artist questions.

The feedback for Ameen's new work was extremely positive. Its also particularly exciting to hear from people who have never seen her work. And of course, its always nice when paintings sell. Both of us joke that we want to move this pile of art out of the studio -- we've got way too much art and need it out of our lives so we can make more. Fortunately, last night was a great step toward this vision. Ameen sold 9 pieces at the close of the reception!

The show is up till September 7th and Ameen will be in the gallery in a couple weeks for those who missed the opening but want to chat. Click HERE to see photos from the opening as well as many paintings that are in the show.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Another Day at the Beach

Life: Here are a few pictures from the other day at the beach. I found a great little trail by our house that drops right down onto a beach between Carkeek Park and North Beach.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

SIG IR 2006

Search, Life, Tech: I just got back from a whirlwind few days at SIG IR. SIG IR is a rather academic conference on information retrieval that is renowned for having rejected PageRank. Here's a funny little tid bit:

"In a confirmation of what I had heard anecdotally, Brin and Page recount how their research paper on the link ranking feature now known as PageRank was rejected by the SIGIR conference as ‘‘disjointed’’ and ‘‘not IR’’ enough. (It would be interesting to find out who the reviewers were!) In hindsight, one can make a good case that the implementation of Web linking with anchor text was one of the major advances in Web search. Brin and Page’s subsequent paper describing this work (Brin & Page, 1998) has become one of the most cited papers in information retrieval. For those interested, see CiteSeer, ISI Web of Science, and Google Scholar for the citation counts. So, for the legions of researchers who have had papers rejected from SIGIR, take heart!"

Despite this, the sorely lacking keynote speakers, and the monotonous delivery of many a speaker (why oh why can't CS departments across our lovely planet make these PhD students take How-To-Give-A-Speach-101), I still had a great time, and heard some good talks. My favorite was at the closing session by
Daniel Frankowski titled You Are What You Say: Privacy Risks of Public Mentions. Basically he showed that its not that hard to link public anonymized users with a private users-not-anonymized data set. This is something especially timely given the AOL public search data release.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Ameen's Artist Statement

Art: I mentioned Ameen's upcoming show at Gallery 6311 HERE. I've since been asked about where it is and a bit more about the show. I've included Ameen's artist statement below. The reception is Saturday, August 12, 6-10 P.M. at 6311 24th NW Seattle, WA - 98107 in Ballard. Hope to see you all there!

Ameen's Artist Statement:

At the end of 2005 my husband Deep and I packed up our 2 kids, Nayan and Ananya for a six week trip to Punjab, the north Indian state where both of our families originate. Deep was born in Madison, and I was born in Victoria. We’ve both travelled to India several times. The focus of this trip was to simply spend time with family, and for Deep and I to paint.

We lived with our cousins on their farm just outside the city of Jallandhar and went to town every day to our Masi’s (maternal aunt’s) house to draw, paint, photograph and absorb Jallandhar. Masi’s rooftop became our temporary studio.

When I begin a new body of work I am never sure what direction it will take. My previous paintings began with either colorful silk fabrics, family photos, or found papers randomly collaged. Perhaps the chaos of Jallandhar itself directed the calmness and loneliness in these paintings.

I have always been interested in everyday street scenes; our drive into the city every morning and the view from Masi’s roof are immedietly inspiring. The city itself and our families' ancestral villages are my focus -- the “raidee’s,” or street vendor’s carts, which offer everything from fruits and vegetables to parrot pundits that predict your future -- pastel painted concrete houses enclosed behind ornate iron gates and fences -- rooftops cluttered with water tanks, television antennae, electrical wires, drying laundry, folding cots and patio chairs -- fading yellow ochre walls with cerulean blue padlocked doors belonging to families long gone abroad -- fresh strings of peppers and a solitary lemon hung every saturday morning to protect against the evil eye. Welcome to Jallandhar.
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